Martha Stewart: Perfection Be Gone!

I wasn't always the biggest fan of Martha Stewart.

To capsulate my feelings in a short sentence: I don't care for people (or things) that are too perfect.

Or that try to be perfect, seeing as she did spend some time in jail!

{Photo from CBSnews.com}

But I do admit that Martha's got a huge empire to her name and her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, is a force to be reckoned with.

I've been spending a little more time on her website, looking at crafty inspirations and recipes I'd love to try. So I'll be the first to admit, Martha's style can kinda grow on you. A teeny bit.

That said, I've let my pride slip a little today, and admit to admiring some way-too-perfect photos and instructions on how to make my life more like Martha's.

The best part is that when I do get around to trying out these projects and recipes, I'll be sure to muddle them up a bit and add my own flair. I'm pretty sure Martha doesn't drink Bud Light and jam to country music while she cooks crab cakes, or wears camo pants and plays with her giant dogs while she dip-dyes pillows.

I'm just sayin'.

But let's get on with business, shall we?

How mouthwateringly delicious does this crab cake dinner look? Find the recipe here. (I plan to make these in the near future, and will report back on my Bud Light drinkin' take of this here meal.)

Um, hello, this glowing shell arrangement is perfect for a summer coffee table or outdoor setting. Anyone know where to find those giant shells?

And these dip-dyed DIY pillows are pretty darn cool. They would look great on our dark leather couches and add some color to the room. Get the how-to here.

{All photography via MarthaStewart.com}

So there's three lovely things Martha's contributed to my day. Where do you find your perfect "not so perfect" inspirations?


Lavender Lemonade

There is something so calming about the smell of lavender. Even the look of it.

{Lavender field at dawn, photo via Better Photo}

Though the scent of coconut will always hold my heart, I do love having lavender around the house. Especially at night. Lighting a lavender candle while I take a shower, or spritzing lavender linen spray on crisp, clean sheets.

If you live in the DFW area, there's the Lavender Ridge Farm, an adorable little getaway celebrating everything about the pretty purple flower. Read about my mom's trip here.

Then there's lavender cocktails, lavender tea that my mom loves, and here's a recipe from Sunday Suppers for made-from-scratch lavender lemonade.

{Photo by Sunday Suppers}

Lavender Lemonade
* 2 cups sugar
* 5 sprigs lavender (stems and buds), plus additional for garnish
* 2 cups fresh lemon juice (from about 10 lemons)
* 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from about 4 limes)

In a large saucepan, bring one gallon of water and the sugar to a boil. Remove from heat; add 7 lavender sprigs and lemon and lime juices. Cool to room temperature, strain, and chill. Serve on ice, with additional lavender for garnish.


Beachy Keen

I always look forward to reading blogs. You just never know what someone's going to post - there's so many creative inspirations rolling around out there in cyber space and it's so motivating to read along as people tackle their ideas, organizational challenges and daily life.

And I especially enjoy all the awesome interior design blogs I've found. Enter The Lettered Cottage. I can't talk about it enough, that Layla Palmer is a genius.

I bet if we met, we'd become fast friends.

That's not creepy, is it? Because I totally feel like I know her from keeping up with her incredible blog.

So today, I was nothing short of impressed when I perused her mantel makeover for summer.

Does it get any better than this?

I love, love, love beachy stuff. Sand, seashells, sea glass, starfish. Love it all. Before we moved to Scotland, I had decorated our bathrooms and part of our bedroom with sea-inspired "stuff."

But I wasn't completely happy with it - probably because I didn't like the dark green Palm tree theme I ended up with, as opposed to a light and happy seafoam scape.

So I can't wait to get me a house back in Texas where I can try out some of these ideas. Like jute-wrapped candles, and pickle jars of sand! Who woulda thunk it?

She bought oodles of starfish, too, cheap as pie from eBay.

When I saw the flag she'd made out of weathered wood from discarded shutters and a couple starfish, I almost started drooling. Must. Make. One. For. Me!

Being the ever-gracious designer that she is, Layla's always sure to post instructions on how to get the look yourself. Sweet!

{All photos by The Lettered Cottage}

There's something that always draws me to Texas-inspired decor. Like this house, which I would love to have:

{via Korel}

It's me to a T, a spacious hill country residence with plenty of land around it for the dogs to run and my horse to gallop. (Yes, Mike promises me one day he'll buy me a horse!)

I'm a wierd mix of beachy keen, Americana and those rustic stars made of tin.

And I'd want my kitchen to look like this:

Because that's where I spend most of my time, and whenever we have people over we'd congregate in there and drink ice cold Bud Lights while I put the steaks on the grill.

A girl can dream, right?

In the meantime, maybe I'll start browsing eBay for some starfish of my own...


Cowboy Boots & Wedding Dresses

My mind is on all things matrimonial this week, as I scramble to meet an editorial deadline for the local Aberdeen wedding magazine I contribute to. It's fun helping them plan and write each issue, bringing back fond feelings of when I headed up my own bridal magazine in Houston.

Plus, it's nice to be appreciated simply for being Texan!

As I pen the latest on new tartans for kilts this year, dashing dress designs from UK labels and how to successfully plan a big day at your neighborhood castle, I fondly recall our recent Scottish wedding experience here in Aberdeen. So unique! The music and kilts alone makes it seem worlds away from the typical American festivities.

Which then turns my mind to my own wedding nearly four years ago. And how wonderfully fun it was - a downright perfect Texas day.

I spotted this rustic wedding collage on the web, and thought it was charming. Wouldn't you love a big ol' reception in a vintage barn?

Makes me think of our own wedding portraits we had done... three years after we tied the knot! It's never too late for a good picture, eh?

{Photography by Shannon O'Hara}

"I dreamed of a wedding of elaborate elegance, a church filled with family and friends. I asked him what kind of a wedding he wished for, he said one that would make me his wife."


My Motto

With everything going on right now - finishing my job in Scotland, meeting an editorial deadline, attending parties and final dinners, organizing our shipment, cleaning out the flat, etc, etc - this has been nothing short of my daily motto!

Thought I'd share the peace...

Wall Paint

Painting a wall in your home isn't anything new.

But handpainting a pattern on top of your wall color is totally rad!

I just loved Centsational Girl's take on a trellis-inspired design that she implemented onto an accent wall in her bedroom.

She makes it look easy, and the outcome is design genius.




Here's some other photos to whet your trellis appetite:

The husband and I have been scouring Houston's real estate web site for rent houses that:

a) are nice enough that I actually want to live in it
b) are in the right part of town
c) come with a big enough backyard for our two monster dogs
d) meet all those requirements and still lands within our price range

It's driving me crazy that I won't have a house to do whatever I want to it! I never read very many design-oriented blogs until last year, after I'd already moved to Scotland. So I feel like there's a million and one ideas bouncing around in my head that will just have to wait a little bit longer.

I actually did start a list of "Rent House To-Do's" that involves non-permenant decorative touches I can enjoy, but that won't revoke our rental agreement. Layla's rental house fix-up blog post at the Lettered Cottage gave me some great pointers. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I can't wait to try removeable wallpaper!

Until then, it's hands off! ;)


Kilt Crazy!

Finally, finally, after living in Scotland for approximately 11 months and 12 days, Mike wore a kilt!

And he looked mighty good in it, if I say so myself.

He had to basically assemble his kilt attire, which involves several specific accessories.

We had fun with a little photoshoot outside our flat before we took off for the wedding!

The layout of a Scottish wedding is a tad different than your typical American Big Day. The "first round" of guests are invited to the ceremony, cocktails and a sit-down dinner. Then a "second round" of guests are invited to join the official reception. It's an interesting break-up of the usual free-flowing format in the US, but the dance floor, the music and the fun are all very much the same!

But then you've got a gorgeous granite cathedral and kilt-clad gents, which are not-so-subtle reminders that we were clearly in Scotland for the newlywed's special day.

What did Mike carry inside his sporran (which is Gaelic for purse, by the way)?

So glad you asked.

Let's see... there was a cell phone, a flask and some money. Everything you need!

The photographer snapped a couple cool photos of all the guys who wore kilts to the wedding, standing behind the bride. Neat, huh?

Here we are with the groom!

There was a lot of dancing and singing...

And pipers piping.

Congrats to the happy couple! And thanks for our true Scottish wedding experience!


Clear as Glass

There's just something so elegant about a cluster of gorgeous petals propped inside a glass jar.

Jars and Bottles

I've saved several pickle jars and decorated them with frosted glass paint for a unique effect.

Mason jars are especially multipurpose. You can make wire handles or paint with stencils to personalize them and use for gifts or storage.

Keep it simple and use a mason jar with small branches from your yard or sticks of wheat, like this one.

Organize crafts or supplies with some mounted boards and a couple of hose clamps.

If all else fails, they work just fine as a drinking glass. Cheers!

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